Glover Teixeira had to rethink his plans for the future after addressing his potential retirement back in 2017.
At the time, the former light heavyweight title contender was following a strategy set forth by his good friend and UFC Hall of Famer Chuck Liddell, who said that he would call it a career on the day he woke up and didn’t feel like going to the gym any longer.
At 39 years of age, Teixeira is realistic enough to know he can’t fight forever but he also had to reassess that particular game plan because it’s going to take a lot for him not to feel excited every day he has a chance to train in mixed martial arts.
“I am going to have to change that mentality because I think I’m going to be 70 years old and I’m going to be loving getting up in the morning to go train,” Teixeira said with a laugh. “I said that before but I love this too much. I’m going to have to change that mentality.
“When the time comes to retire, when I can’t hang with those guys anymore, when I can’t train, as well. When injuries get in the way, that’s when I’m going to stop. Because the love and the passion to get up in the morning and train, I don’t think I’ll ever stop that. I love this too much.”
Throughout his UFC career, Teixeira has faced the best of the best that the 205-pound division could throw at him.
He battled for the title against Jon Jones. He holds wins over former champions Rashad Evans and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. He’s earned 11 career victories inside the Octagon with nine coming by way of knockout or submission.
As great as those accomplishments have been, Teixeira knows he isn’t done yet because he’s still competing against the top fighters in the world.
While he’s faced his own injuries over the years, Teixeira has stayed remarkably healthy and active, which has certainly helped his longevity. Age eventually catches up with everybody but there is also no set path on how long a fighter’s career is supposed to last.
“I think it has to do with the fights that you have, the training, the injuries,” Teixeira explained. “Right now, I’m following a good program. I have a few injuries that bothered me in the past and they could come back and it’s always there. ‘Minotauro’ [Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira], he’s one of the greatest of all time in my opinion, just the heart and the ability to overcome fights and after losing a couple rounds, he’d find a way to come back and win, but the injuries that he had on his body was so much with surgeries and everything. It made him stop earlier.
“I think it has a lot to do with fights, how the fights go. If you see [Daniel] Cormier, of course he doesn’t have that many fights, he doesn’t have 40 or 50 fights. He has maybe 20 fights but he seems like a guy that doesn’t have many injuries. That goes up and down. People have retired at 30 years old, most of the time because of injuries and they can’t do it anymore.”
Right now, Teixeira is feeling better than ever ahead of his upcoming fight against Ion Cutelaba at UFC Fight Night in Florida this weekend.
The two light heavyweights were actually matched up previously in January but Cutelaba dealt with an injury that knocked him out of the fight.
Ultimately, the matchup was put back together and Teixeira is excited for the opportunity to face an opponent who mirrors his own approach to fighting in so many ways.
“Hopefully it will be a great fight. I think Cutelaba is an aggressive, young fighter and hungry and I like the matchup,” Teixeira said.
“Those kinds of styles, those are the kinds of fights I like. I’m not looking for an easy fight ever, but I like those kinds of fights. That’s why when I fought “Rampage” [Quinton Jackson] I was happy, I fought [Fabio] Maldonado, that’s why I asked for ‘Shogun’ [Mauricio Rua]; I know those guys are going to come to fight. I like those matchups.”
As excited as he might be, Teixeira still believes he holds a lot of advantages over Cutelaba when it comes to the actual fight.
They may possess a similar attitude when it comes to marching forward with an aggressive game plan, but Teixeira knows he has a few more tricks up his sleeve that Cutelaba has never seen before.
“I’ve faced everybody. I’ve faced the top in the world. He’s never faced a guy like me,” Teixeira said. “He’s never been on that road that I’ve been. The experience is definitely going to come through in this fight, no doubt.
“I’m a fighter, I prepare for everything, every time. John Hackleman, Chuck Liddell, we come from that old school of training. We’ve got to prepare for everything and you never know, because opponents can change, anything can change. I don’t do the strategy. I just go in and feel the fight.”
After this fight is finished, Teixeira hopes to stay busy for the rest of 2019 with even more reasons to get up and go to the gym every day.
Fighting can’t last forever but Teixeira has dedicated his life to this sport, so even when he does finally hang up the gloves, he’s still not going anywhere.
“I am in a situation where I’m very aware, I’m fighting, my gym is going great. You guys are going to see me for a long time,” Teixeira said. “After fighting, I’m probably going to be the next Greg Jackson, having fighters in the UFC.
“Give me some time, I’ll be there for a long time coaching.”